Fitness Testing for Sprinters

The track and field sprint events range in distance from 100m to 400m, and include the hurdle and relay events. Also, for many sports sprinting speed is very important.

Before you look at the appropriate fitness tests for sprint athletes, you need to identify the physical attributes that make a successful sprinter.

Speed is the obvious attribute, but also acceleration and power. For 400 m runners, and to some extent the 200m, anaerobic capacity is also important. For hurdlers, standing height is important, but not so for the other sprint events. Low bodyfat is important to reduce any excess weight being carried, which would only hinder acceleration.

The physical demands vary greatly among the track and field disciplines. See fitness testing for athletics for more information about other track and field disciplines. The tests discussed below are not an exhaustive list - check out the complete list of fitness tests.

Sprint Sped TestExample Testing List for Sprinters

An Example for a Sprinter

Fitness Test Result
body mass (kg) 72.6
height (cm) 183.4
Skinfolds, sum of 7 sites (mm) 29.1
Grip Strength (kg) 49
1RM Bench Press (kg) 110
Vertical Jump (cm) 85
Sit and Reach (cm) +15
VO2max (ml/kg/min) 60

Here is an example of a series of tests performed on an Olympic sprinter, 400m runner Sean Wroe, conducted in 2009 (as detailed in the Herald Sun Newspaper). A summary of his results are in the adjacent table.

His vertical jump score is excellent, as expected for a world class sprinter. He is also not carrying any excess fat, as shown by his very low skinfold total, resulting in a very good power to weight ratio.

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